Cheltenham team planning rails review after Friday incidents

Two horses ran out at the finish at the opening meeting of the season

  • Friday 26 October
  • News
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Officials at Cheltenham called an immediate review after two horses ran out in the closing stages during the track’s opening meeting on Friday.

The configuration of the course at Prestbury Park means that after the runners jump the final fence, tape is put across a section of the track to doll off the run-in from the rest of the course.

There was first drama in the squareintheair.com Novices’ Chase as the Dan Skelton-trained One For Billy was challenging eventual winner Diakali when he ran out through the tape.

Ironically, it was Skelton who profited later in the afternoon with Sam Red.

Irish raider Oighear Dubh looked to have victory sewn up in the hands of Michael O’Sullivan, riding for his father Eugene, when the grey ducked out through the tape, and Sam Red charged home to claim an unlikely victory.

A similar incident occurred in the Foxhunter Chase at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival when Oscar Delta jinked left and unseated his rider Jane Mangan, allowing Salsify to win the race for a second time.

Clerk of the course Simon Claisse said: “We will be out there with the senior inspector of the courses from the British Horseracing Authority either later this evening or first thing tomorrow morning.

“It takes two minutes to get a fixed rail up and big pins in the ground. That is why when we reviewed it after Miss Mangan’s incident in the Foxhunter a couple of years ago, we didn’t come up with a solution that involved putting a fixed rail in there.

“We straightened out the plastic running rail and then put the tape on so that the place where the horse went round the turn before, we moved it further forward and that is what we have done here as well.

“To have had two incidents like that in a day, when historically we have only had two in the last 30 years, we have to review it.”

Skelton believes the problem needs to be rectified as soon as possible.

He said: “The rail is the correct height, the tape is the wrong height. Our horse (One For Billy) did nothing wrong – he followed the rail. The jockeys are unfortunate pilots in those situations.

“Something has to happen as two in a day is not a coincidence. I know something will happen as they are a top-class team here.

“It is unfortunate that it happened twice in a day and it is unfortunate for racing it has happened at Cheltenham and everyone gets to see it.

“That’s racing. We all have trials and tribulations. We all support the industry and we will all get through it.

“There was no proper accidents because of it and everyone is safe.”

Cheltenham team planning rails review after Friday incidents
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